Light and electron microscopic immunocytochemical techniques were used to examine the distribution and ultrastructure of substance P-immunoreactive nerves in human jejunum and distal ileum. The organization of human enteric substance P-containing nerves closely resembled that in other species. Dense arrays of varicose immuno fluorescent fibers occurred in myenteric and submucous ganglia (which contained immunoreactive nerve cell bodies) and in the mucosa. There were fibers in both muscle layers, in the muscularis mucosae, and around blood vessels. Fibers in the myenteric plexus contributed to both ascending and descending pathways. Substance P-immunoreactive axon profiles contained small round and large round vesicles and were apposed to nerve cell bodies, and nonimmunoreactive and immunoreactive axon profiles. Synapselike contacts were occasionally observed on nerve cell bodies and processes. The substance Plike material was characterized by high pressure liquid chromatography and radioimmunoassay and found to be indistinguishable from the authentic undecapeptide. These results suggest that enteric nerves containing substance P may play similar roles in humans as in other species.
- 4% paraformaldehyde, 0.2% glutaraldehyde in 0.1 M sodium phosphate buffer, pH 7.4
- normal sheep serum
- paraformaldehyde-lysine-perio date
- phosphate-buffered saline
- substance P